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Cracked.com posting misinformation

Hi, all. I subscribe to cracked.com on facebook, because they post some funny articles, but today they posted this:

"7 'Ancient' Forms of Mysticism That Are Recent Inventions"

They list #1 as "The Viking Religion" with a link to asatru.org, and then proceed to say this about it:

Quote: "Vikings are awesome, as are the myths of pre-Christian Scandinavia that come with them. There are giant hammers, eight-legged horses and Ragnarok, in which the universe is kicked to death by fire and the bad guys pilot a ship made of corpse fingernails. It's like one giant, eternal '80s metal album cover. But for many people -- those who feel a deep connection to Norse culture, want to join a prison gang or are just angry at their parents for making them get up early for church when they were young -- Scandinavian paganism is alive and well, known as Odinism or Asatru by modern followers.

You're begging us now, "Please, Cracked, don't tell us that all of that stuff about Thor and his hammer, Odin, Loki and other Marvel properties are horseshit made up to sell some books!" Unfortunately, our dedication to the truth is only seconded by our dedication to killing your dreams. Pretty much everything we know about Scandinavian paganism comes from the Eddas, two books compiled in the 13th century by a guy with the hilarious, Muppet-like name of Snorri Sturluson.

But wait, the 13th century's still pretty old, right? Yes, but there's a problem here: Snorri wrote the books several hundred years after Scandinavia had been Christianized. Oh, and Snorri himself wasn't exactly a true believer: he declared that the "gods" he was writing about were just dead heroes who got talked up later.

That would be bad enough, but Snorri's collections also contained elements that seem to be cribbed from the hot new religion, like Odin sacrificing himself by hanging on a tree and getting pierced by a spear. In fact, some buzzkill scholars have even suggested that Ragnarok itself is no more than a retelling of the end of paganism under Christianity, or even a co-opted version of the Biblical book of Revelation. Basically, Snorri was working at the end of a 200-year-old religious telephone game, and we've just got no way of knowing what was in the original version and what was the result of one guy saying, "You know what religion needs? More giant hammers." End quote.

I posted a comment on facebook and am about to on cracked as well, calmly making some corrections and clarifications as to our sources and the fact we *know* snorri christianized a lot of his writings... Perhaps others will join me, in defending Asatru? Nobody expects Cracked to be a source of scholarly research but I feel comparing us to prison gangs and Marvel is just wrong.



Jul. 7th, 2011 03:46 am (UTC)
yep, yep and yep

however thankfully those who look, DO know that there are lots of other sources. But there's lots of asatruar who don't look. So they're not wrong ;)


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